Rail riders group give NJ Transit a 'D' for performance this year

David Madden
December 28, 2018 - 9:47 am
Gov. Phil Murphy signed reform legislation for NJ Transit on Dec. 20, 2018 at the Summit Train Station in Summit, N.J.

Edwin J. Torres/NJ Governor's Office via Flickr

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RARITAN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — An organization representing commuter rail riders in the Garden State has given New Jersey Transit and the people who run it a borderline failing grade for performance over the last year.

The New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers gave the Murphy administration a "D," mostly because there’s been a lack of communication. Then again, NJ-ARP President Len Resto said communication has never been NJT's strong suit.

RELATED: Even after Positive Train Control fix, return date of AC Line still hard to pin down

NJT announced on Dec. 17 it got positive train control equipment on enough track and rail cars to meet a federal mandate, though the work is far from done. 

The Atlantic City Rail Line, shut down since after Labor Day, is supposed to resume service in "early 2019" — later than the earlier promise of just after the first of the year.

Resto suggested there’s another possible motive at play here: "They want to divert that equipment up north in order to not to have tons of cancellations on the Northeast Corridor or the Morris and Essex Line," he said. "All the North Jersey rail lines."

As for possible motivation, Resto added, "What’s the ridership on the Atlantic City Rail Line? It’s mainly folks that are working at the casinos, so they are less affluent people. And your Northern New Jersey riders are, for the most part, rather affluent. Who speaks for the poor?"

NJT has extended discounts into January on bus service that’s replaced the Atlantic City Rail Line short-term.

NJT did not respond to two requests for comment in preparation for this report.